Παρασκευή, 15 Ιουλίου 2011

My second smartphone in less than a year.

Well, It had to be done. I’m officially done with cheap Android and moved along with cheap Windows Phone 7. Why cheap you ask? Here’s the story of it all.

Last fall, I bought my HTC Wildfire. I still consider it a great phone, but it lacked some extra polish in the OS. HTC just doesn’t do a good job optimizing their ROM’s for their mobiles. I wasn’t too hot for rooting the thing and flashing another custom ROM, so what I had was a descent phone with plenty of performance issues. I guess it was those issues that made me so attached to it.

 

Then, my bro found out a terrifying reality: Windows Phone7 devices weren’t succesful at all in the Greek market. The complete lack of Greek language (in menus, native keyboard and mareketplace) bombed all the devices. For some time, HTC Trophy7 and LG Optimus 7 were selling as low as 199euros.

When the Mango Update was announced coming this Octomber, with full Greek support, the guys at HTC went ahead and took all the Trophies7 from the market, so they could release them again under the new update – and a new higher pricetag of course.

LG didn’t act that fast. Vodafone still sells their devices, though but they are moderating the sales by making people ordering in advance their Optimus7 and making them wait for 2 days until it arrives.

So, I discovered a Vodafone in the center of Athens, (it was so lost, there were junkies getting dosed up next to it ) and I asked if they had it. They did actually so I bought it witrhout second thought.

I'm glad I did.

So, what about my Wildfire? Well, it’s gone. I sold it half the price I got it, so actually the new phone costed me 50euros. Awesome! And I now have a phone with bigger, brighter and densier screen, powered with nice specs (1Ghz Snapdragon etc. etc. etc.) with an overall smoother OS that’s all around awesome, as well as limited.

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Yeah, Windows phone 7 isn’t exactly the next open source miracle. It feels more like iPhone on how it manages apps and third party tweaks. There are a lot of workarounds of course, and the SDK’s are free for everybody to download (and mess with the phone through them) but there are undeniable limitations such ass the complete absence of background images and the ringtones won’t change until the user installs them through a separate app.

But other than that, the OS stands by itself pretty good. It’s smooth, it sports a shitload of apps (both free and commercial) in its appstore and it supports some nifty features such as Skydrive intergration, Xbox Live, and Hotmail/Live ID sync.

And this time around, it really syncs stuff. I had a hard time to make my WildFire to sync with Google Contacts. Sometimes I got the impression that Sense UI didn’t make any… sense.

For instance, I found the facebook intergration in the contacts really nice, as I synched everybody, I ended up having a nice contact list with phones, pictures and other info streamed right from Facebook.

And, that’s that. After synching for the first time, the contacts didn’t sync with Facebook as advertised. None of the profile pictures or statuses ever changed and the newly added contacts who happened to be newly added facebook friends, never showed in the FriendStream friendlist, thus I never got to attach their Facebook profile to their contacts, having those annoying gray faceless people among the never-renewed facebook pictures.

So that’s gone with WinPho7. My contacts are nicely sorted, my fb friends appear in the People hub and they renew everytime my device syncs with FB without any hickups. I also got a more steamlined facebook experience with a facebook app that is in harmony with the phone’s theme and functionality.

So, all in all I dig the experience. I also like the idea of having my Xbox Live gamertag and, possibly, games.

So, I don’t regret jumping to the Windows Phone 7 train.

“What about the iOS?” some of you may wonder.

I’m no fool when it comes to apple products. I have an iPod Touch 4G which is still not dethroned from being my social networking/gaming/music device.

So, I can say I invested time and – most importantly- money on Apple’s platform. I Still feel that it’s amazing.

But the price which is a shock point for me (700euros are too much for the latest iPhone) the constant release of new devices (that’s my issue with HTC too) and the trouble with the locked phones (I got an iPhone4 from America and I needed wizardry to unlock it) turn me off of their phone offer.

I know I’m stiff but I’d rather invest the same amount of money on an iPad which does other things better, even though I feel like the tablets in general have lost their point.

So, the pricier iPhone, didn’t win me and my problematic experience with Android kind of lost me. So, yeah.

I’m pretty happy with WinPho7 now. That I know…

Feel free to ask me any questions ‘bout the user experience. I’d be glad to answer all I can.

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